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January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008 – Mr. Ticket To The Rescue

           Got a letter from my lawyer today.  His name is Mr. Ticket.  Well, his name is not really Mr. Ticket, it’s Mitchell J. Mehdy.  There are a few lawyers who work there, namely Abel Galvan and Mitchell J. Mehdy.  Mr. Ticket is a small outfit that deals primarily with traffic related matters.  There is also a “Mr. DUI” run out of the same office.  I stand by these guys.  They don’t fight for you in court, that’s your job, but they frustrate the system and postpone court dates in the hopes of getting a dismissal, fine reduction, eligibility for traffic school, so some other remedy.  And all for $50.  That’s for taxi drivers by the way, for everyone else it’s $100, which is still a bargain in my opinion considering all the time you save by avoiding going to court.

            Going to court usually takes up hours of your time.  There’s the commute to court, in which you are actually chancing getting another ticket, the time sitting in court, and the money spent on gas to get there.  You could avoid the first phase of the process, typically called the Arraignment, by pleading through the mail but you usually have to pay the fine up front.  No thanks.  When you go to court and plead not guilty this is typically waived.  No need to go into the details of getting out of traffic tickets here as it was covered in another posting…

            Anyways, the people at Mr. Ticket are solid.  I’ve used them ever since I came to San Diego.  This time they pled not guilty for me and the prosecutor decided not to file the ticket.  I don’t know what the statistics on this are but when an officer writes you a ticket I’m willing to bet that like 25% of the time the supposed violator simply pays it to avoid the hassle.  Not me, I make them work for every penny!  I actually would have liked to take that bike cop to trial just to see if he wore those silly ass little bike shorts.

An older picture of Mitchell J. Medhy

January 6, 2008

January 6, 2008 – The Office Part 2…

            Today I made another trip to the office, which I am becoming less and less fond of…

I am beginning to wonder if there is any sort of accounting system in place - everything is such a mess and seems to be covered in dozens of multicolored sticky notes.  I have yet to see a calculator…  Perhaps even more strange than that is Catherine’s hiring practices.  All of the workers appear to be either grossly overweight, drug addicts, completely inept, have been to jail (usually more than once), love Jesus - or some combination thereof.

            Kirk, who has been here for like 10 years is a prime example, if not the epitome, of one of our awful employees.  Whenever anyone questions him about his behavior they are challenged to a fight in the alley.  I talked to a customer the other day who said Kirk called her mixed race son a “half breed,” President Obama a “N***er” and the mayor of Cortez a “G**k.”    All in the same conversation!  I have to imagine that this isn’t an isolated incident.   From what was relayed to me by Meg, Kirk’s fare, the conversation went something like this –

            Meg: Can you bring me to The Community Center?
            Kirk: (No Response)
            Meg: Could you bring me to the Community Center please?
            Kirk: I guess.
Meg: So what do you think about Obama, it’s amazing to finally have a black president huh?
            Kirk: Only in America we would have a N***er as a president.
            Meg: What!
            Kirk: I hate this shitty town and it’s G**k mayor.
            Meg: I have a mixed race son you asshole.
            Kirk: Well that’s your problem huh.
            Meg: Fuck you.

            I don’t remember where exactly the other slurs factored into the conversation, but they were surely there.  I have no doubt that Kirk said any of this, and why would a 60 something year old woman make that up anyways.  I wish that I could remember the specifics, I was in awe that this actually happened.  What employer in their right mind would retain an employee like this?  Imagine Kirk working at Target, perhaps at the customer service desk…

            Customer (A Man): Can I return this shovel?
            Kirk: Why?
Customer: Well, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.  I just want to return it, I think what I actually needed was a flat shovel, maybe a spade?
Kirk: Maybe you just weren’t strong enough to use it?  We don’t have any shovels here that little girls like you might like.
Customer: What did you say to me? Where’s your manager.
Kirk: You sound like a coward, why don’t we settle this in the alley like men?

Based on my observations, this is a realistic depiction of how Kirk would most likely behave.  And how long do you think Target would keep someone like this around?  Right, they wouldn’t.  He would be fired on the spot.  Hell, the police may even be called. He might even be banned from ever stepping foot inside of another Target again.  But no, not at Cortez Cab.

I tried to convince Meg that our company owner is well aware of this and refuses to do anything about it.  I explained to Meg that if she wanted to do anything about rotten apples like this that she would have to go directly to the city to file a complaint, that complaining to the company would be useless.  I got the feeling that she was over it at this point.  It’s a shame.  Really nice lady, I’ve driven her a few times. 

One of the night dispatchers also shared a story about Kirk.  Actually more than a few… Apparently Kirk picked up some teenage girl and her boyfriend here in town and brought them to one of the restaurants. After an argument, which was quite possibly started by Kirk, he called the girl a “little bitch” and threatened to beat up her boyfriend.  There are a number of people who won’t even ride with him. Fellow cab drivers, customers and myself are baffled as to why Kirk still works here.  Maybe that isn’t all that fair to just assume that Kirk was an asshole for no reason.  Maybe one of his passengers did something to offend him – like asking how his day was, or what his name was.

            This company is more like a circus than anything else.   “Come one come all!”  “See the Worlds Heaviest Woman, The Worlds Oldest Man, The Worlds Creepiest Cab Driver!”  And lets not forget the ringmaster, Catherine. 

January 3, 2008

January 3, 2008 – Case Dismissed

                After getting tickets for years on end I’ve developed a fairly good strategy for getting out of them.  It’s nothing complicated, but there are a number of easy things that can be done to greatly increase your chances of getting out of a ticket - whether it is beating the officer in court or just reducing your fine.

1.     Don’t say anything incriminating when the officer stops you.  If he/she does come to court you’re pretty much dead in the water.

2.     Don’t just pay your ticket.  Sometimes you may be eligible for traffic school, which is good, but it guarantees that you won’t get a break on the fine, and if you don’t go to traffic school it will result as a point on your license, and your car insurance rates may go up.

3.     Go to your first court date.  (This is called an Arraignment.)  Here the judge may offer you a deal by pleading guilty and paying a reduced fine.   If this happens and you’re happy with whatever the Judge offers, take it.  Just by going to court you may be able to reduce your fine by hundreds of dollars.  It all depends on how much the ticket was and what it was for.  Most people aren’t aware of how backed up the courts are.  Ever wonder why when you get a traffic ticket they set your court date months into the future?  Sometimes the judge will not tell you what your fine is or if it will be reduced by pleading guilty and you are asked to simply enter a plea of guilty or not guilty - use your discretion.

4.     If you plead not guilty your court date will be set for a date months into the future.  This is called the trial date.  Typically police officers work a certain shift, for a few months at a time.  For arguments sake lets say that from January through April they work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., then from May through August they work 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and from September through December they work 1 a.m through 9 a.m.  When you go to court, plead not guilty, and are given another court date you are increasing the chances that your trial will be set on one of the days that the officer is going to be scheduled at the department.  If he is scheduled at work he won’t be able to come to court.  In some jurisdictions the prosecutor will look over the cases and decide which ones are worth the courts time.  Like I said earlier, the courts are jam packed with cases, often times trivial ones.  If the prosecutor (This person may also be called the district attorney, the states attorney and so on…) feels that the case isn’t worth the courts time they may refuse to file the ticket.  There are a number of other ways that you could have the case dismissed I would imagine.

5.     If your case is set for trial you and all of the relevant parties will be notified of the time and place that the trial will be held.  If the officer is not present your case will most likely be dismissed.  I’ve had cases where the officer didn’t show up and the judge asked whether or not I was still pleading not guilty – PLEAD NOT GUILTY!  I’ve never heard of anyone still be found guilty at this juncture if the officer never showed up.  Can’t blame them for trying though.

6.     If the officer does show up you’re probably fucked.  There’s going to be people that debate me on this but there is definitely a bias in favor of the officer at this point.  However, the court realizes that like you and me, officers are people too, and people sometimes make mistakes.  If you are genuinely not guilty, or maybe even if you have a pretty good story, feel free to give it a shot.  One thing to note – if you go through all of these proceedings and the court decides that you are in fact guilty you will have pay the entire fine typically, and quite possibly court costs.  If traffic school was on the table earlier, it probably isn’t anymore.  The advantage of making it to the trial date is to see whether or not the officer showed up.  Some courts allow you to change your plea to guilty at this point (which is sort of important for this phase of the strategy.)  Conversely, if your enter a plea of guilty you may not change your plea to not guilty at a later date.  When you plead guilty, the court imposes its judgment, and a resolution is created right then and there.  You will have to pay the fine but you are often still eligible for traffic school, and your ticket may still be lower, and you are definitely no worse off than if you had paid your fine right from the beginning.

              By the way, I’m a cab driver – not a lawyer, and none of this is meant to be construed as legal advice.  So take it with a grain of salt.

            So back to the case at hand…  I appear for my stop sign ticket that I got a few months ago and the officer is a no show.  Case dismissed.  Oh, by the way, the other driver that got a ticket that night, he won his case too.  Ralph took the officer on in court and won.  Good for him.